GOP HOLDS ON: County council incumbents win primary

COLUMBIA CITY — All three Republican incumbents for Whitley County Council held on to the party’s nod for the panel’s three available at-large seats during Tuesday’s primary.“I’m just glad it’s over,” said Councilman Thomas Western at the Northside Grille, serving as Republican Headquarters Tuesday night. “It was a pretty close election and that’s exactly what I expected. I guess it really means that people are relatively happy with the way things are running in the county.”Western, along with veteran county official William Overdeer and first-time council member Paula Reimers held off Republican challengers Thor Hodges, former council member Scott Darley and Jorell Tucker.Reimers, who gained the council seat by caucus in 2010, was the top vote getter with 2,397 votes (19.12 percent), followed by Overdeer (2,340-18.67 percent) and Western (2,298-18.33 percent).“I’m extremely excited,” said an emotional Reimers following the closing of the polls. “I’m thankful to my supporters and the voters and all those who helped me with this campaign.”Overdeer, who has served in county elected office in many capacities, displayed his trademark humility just prior to the results being announced.“Looks like I made it,” Overdeer said. “If I lost, I don’t think the county would go down the tubes,” he added. “They (the Republican challengers) are good people, it was a good field.”Reimers, Overdeer and Western will face three Democratic challengers in November for the three available at-large spots.Those hopefuls are Steven Heaston, Wes Pease and Greg Racioppi.In other county races, Republican Randy Dellinger is as yet unopposed for county coroner, while Ron McNeal defeated Jim Macino for county surveyor (no Democrat candidate yet).Democrats have until June 30 at noon to enter a candidate for any race which is unopposed.Republicans Tom Rethlake and Don Amber are each unopposed for their respective slots on the Whitley County Board of Commissioners.For precinct committeeman in Columbia Township’s 3rd District, Debbie Fairchild defeated Susan Davison while Brandon Forrester topped Mark Roach in Union Township East.